Wednesday, March 09, 2016


This week (Thursday 10th March) we are having one of our “Special” jazz nights.

With our regular reed section away on “business” we have recruited a young saxophone player to play the tenor sax in his place. Robert Goodhew is one of this countries rising stars, with a wonderful tone, and a melodic method to ballads.

BUT we are “gilding the gingerbread”, as my mother used to say, because we have a guitarist coming to join the quintet, who may still be a rising star, but has risen a long way already. I have already introduced him at a concert as “the best guitarist in the country” but since then he has got even better. So tomorrow night we will have NIGEL PRICE with us as well. Star on innumerable CD’s, both in his own name and on others artist’s recordings Nigel is a delight to listen to.

Our start time is 8.30pm, but to get a good seat (or any seat at all) do come early, the bar is well stocked! We are applying our normal admittance price of £6, but we will be passing the hat round for additional funds to help us out on this one.

There is some free car parking at Hedsor (if you haven’t been before), so the whole evening is so much more enjoyable than traipsing up to London to Ronnie Scott’s, and so much cheaper too. The drinks are at normal working mans club prices, so you can afford to bring a friend as well!!

OK our entry fee of £6 may seem a long way removed from the 7/6p that I used to pay to get in to “The White Hart” at Southall, but I did used to go there on a Wednesday night for that sum to see and hear the Chris Barber Band with its original lineup including Lonnie Donegan and Ottilie Patterson! But that was in  1955! 

This week I have had some of my memories of the band revived with a LAKE Double CD release entitled Chris Barber 1959-1960 (although the back cover says, in error, that it is 1957 –58!). These recording don’t have that original rhythm section, and the sound has become slightly more polished.

There is much that has been released many times before, and by LAKE! But there are some tracks well worth the purchase price for their rarity. Three of the tunes on the second CD were recorded in Detroit during the Barber bands tour of the USA. They were recorded without the bands knowledge, and although the recording isn't as good as the studio versions, they are very “live”, which always gives an added vibrancy to a recording. Listen out especially to Monty Sunshine in “Saratoga Swing”. Mentioning Monty Sunshine reminds me that there are 4 tracks that have him playing soprano sax on this release, something I never actually saw happen!

There are also a couple of tunes with Mr. Barber playing with some members of the Clarence Williams Washboard band, although sadly not Mr Williams himself.

Another tune in the album is a version of  John Lewis’s “Golden Striker”. I really must let the Clive Burton Quintet hear this, as they seem to manage to quote from it most weeks but have NEVER played it all the way through!!

Well there you have it. Jazz Today (an original recording label for the Barber band before the label got changed to Nixa) and Jazz Tomorrow!! There could even be some jam!!

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